Legislation outlawing armed drones advances

Assemblyman Jay Webber

PARSIPPANY — With more than 1.3 million drones registered with the FAA and possibly as many unregistered, the potential for criminals or terrorists to arm an unmanned aircraft and use it to threaten, injure, or kill people is sky high.

That danger was realized by Assemblyman Jay Webber, who sponsors legislation (A1739) criminalizing weaponized drones.  It unanimously passed the Assembly Homeland Security Committee today.

“This is a situation where the law should keep pace with the technology,” said Webber (R-Morris). “While recreational drones have many harmless and fun uses, a weaponized drone in the wrong hands is just plain dangerous.  The U.S. military has had great success with pilotless planes on the battlefield. The potential grows for bad guys using armed drones to turn a crowded event into a crime scene, and our law should be updated to deter and punish the weaponizing of drones.”

The bill prohibits unmanned aircraft mounted with explosives, firearms, or projectiles that could injure or kill.  Violations are punishable with fines of $10,000 and 18 months in prison.


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